4. Introduction to Paragraph

Introduction to Paragraph

Parlindungan Pardede

Universitas Kristen Indonesia

A paragraph is a group of about 6-12 sentences expressing a main idea. It can give information tell an opinion, explain something, or even tell a short story. Every sentence in a good paragraph is about the same topic. All of the sentences, which are arranged logically, so the reader can easily understand what the writer wants to say, explain the writer’s main idea (most important idea) about that topic. When the writer wants to write about a new main idea, he/she begins a new paragraph.

In academic writing, a paragraph is usually built up by two types of sentences. The first type is called the topic sentence, which directly tells the reader what the paragraph is about (topic). It states the main idea. It is usually (but not always!) placed in the beginning of the paragraph. The second type is called supporting sentences. They give more information about the topic. They add specific details and explanations. If the supporting sentences directly explain the topic, they are called major supporting sentences. If they explain the topic indirectly (by supporting a major supporting sentence, they are called minor supporting sentence, In addition to the topic and supporting sentences, some paragraph can also have a concluding sentence. It restates the main idea (in a different way from the topic sentence) or presents a final comment about the topic.

Look at the following sample.

(1) Computer chips have changed our way of life in many ways. (2) With computer chips we can make very small computers. (3) Space scientists use these small computers in satellites and space ships. (4) Large companies use these small computers for business. (5) We can make very small calculators with computer chips. (6) Some calculators are as small as a credit card, and these calculators are not very expensive. (7) Computer chips are also used for making digital watches. (8) A normal watch has a spring and moving hands, but a digital watch has no moving parts. (9) A digital watch show the time and date with numbers, and some digital watches even have and alarm and a stopwatch. (10) The computer chip makes all of this possible.

Explanation:

Sentence 1 is the topic sentence. Sentences 2, 5, and 7 are major supporting sentences. They directly explain the topic sentence. Sentences 3 and 4 support sentence 2. Sentence 6 explain sentence 5. Sentence 8 and 9 support sentence 7. Therefore, sentences 3, 4, 6, 8, and 9 are major supporting sentences. Sentence 10 is the concluding sentence. It restates the main idea.

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14 thoughts on “4. Introduction to Paragraph

  1. Dear Mr. Parlin
    I’m sorry because late in reporting my task and below is my analysis
    1) Choosing a college or university can be difficult. –> is the topic sentence.
    (2) The most difficult part is finding a university that prepares you well for your future career. –> major supporting sentences.
    (3) In order to get a good job, the curriculum that is taught must be thorough and up-to-date. –> supports sentence 2
    (4) In addition, the professors must be highly qualified and respected in their fields. –> supports sentence 2
    (5) Another difficulty in choosing a university or college is affordability. –> major supporting sentences.
    (6) You need to be able to pay the tuition fees and living expenses. –> supports sentence 5
    (7) Some institutions might be able to offer you scholarships if you cannot afford the fees.
    (8) A good location is also very important when choosing a school. –> major supporting sentences.
    (9) The environment should be safe and quiet to facilitate studying. –> supports sentence 8
    (10) Moreover, there should be possibilities near the school for part-time or summer jobs in your major, so you can get some practical work experience. –> supports sentence 8
    (11) You should consider all of these points carefully so you can choose the most appropriate college or university for you. –> is the concluding sentence.

    Why everyone should master English?
    Humans have a universal characteristic and ability that is unique and distinguishes them from all other species on this planet. This ability is the complex use and adaptation of communication that we call language. Over thousands of years this has developed and evolved into the many of languages that cover the modern world. Among the languages, English is the most spoken language of the world. As an international language, English is a medium not only for international Market; it has become essential for inter-state Business. It is the official language of air transport and shipping. The English is also the leading language of science, technology, computers, and commerce; and a major medium of education, publishing, and international negotiation. People going from country to country for education or business mostly communicate in English, which has become a link language. That is why everyone should master English.

    Regards,
    -Dia-

  2. Bravo, Mr. Gea.
    Item (1) is very well-done!
    In item (2) is good except that you should have replaced the period (.) with a comma (,)–the one between the words “skill” and “so”.

  3. Dear Mr. Parlin,

    Please find below my analysis:
    Explanation:
    Sentence 1 = topic sentence
    Sentence 2,5,8 = major supporting sentences
    Sentence 3,4 support sentence 2
    Sentence 6,7 support sentence 5
    Sentence 9,10 support sentence 8
    Sentence 3,4,6,7,9,10 = minor supporting sentence
    Sentence 11 = concluding sentence

    A paragraph “why everyone should master English”
    English is mostly spoken and used in all aspect all around the world. That has brought English as an international language. There are many advantages when you master English. English helps you to communicate with people from other language. It will help you to understand how other people think and get a general understanding of the culture and way of others‘ thinking. In business world, it is used for communicating in some meetings, and slides on presentations. Moreover, it helps you to find a better job, getting a promotion, transfer overseas, or going on foreign business trips. If you plan to study abroad at foreign university, college, or school, English as the medium will be the prior subject you need to concern about. Besides all the subjects, the books and other resources will be in English. When you master English, it seems the world is in your hand so you can start to learn it now and get lots of benefits.

    Regards,
    Violent

  4. Below is my analysis:
    Topic sentence: (1) Choosing a college or university can be difficult.
    the first major supporting sentence: (2) The most difficult part is finding a university that prepares you well for your future career.
    These two sentences are minor supporting sentences supporting sentence (2) : (3) In order to get a good job, the curriculum that is taught must be thorough and up-to-date. (4) In addition, the professors must be highly qualified and respected in their fields.
    The second manor supporting sentence: (5) Another difficulty in choosing a university or college is affordability.
    Sentence (6) & (7) are the minor supporting sentences for sentence (5) : (6) You need to be able to pay the tuition fees and living expenses. (7) Some institutions might be able to offer you scholarships if you cannot afford the fees.
    The third major supporting sentence: (8) A good location is also very important when choosing a school.
    These are the minor supporting sentences for sentence (8) : (9) The environment should be safe and quiet to facilitate studying. (10) Moreover, there should be possibilities near the school for part-time or summer jobs in your major, so you can get some practical work experience.
    Concluding sentence (as it emphasizes the main sentence) :(11) You should consider all of these points carefully so you can choose the most appropriate college or university for you.

    A paragraph about “Why Everyone Should Master English”
    English is an international language that everyone should master it. Mastering English helps us to communicate around the world. It is officially admitted that English is used around the world either as mother tongue, second language, or third language. Even though some countries do not use English as national language, they use English under the native language in any directions signs. So that the foreigners do not get lost. Another reason is that most of university textbooks are in English. When they are translated in native language, let’s say Indonesian, we will find that some expressions are difficult to be expressed in other language. It could happen due to cultures, or even the development of language itself. The other reason why everyone should master English is to open our mind to the world. There is much beneficial information that we can search through internet or any other media. Whatever our purposes are: to find any job vacancies, develop our own esteem, cook like an international chef, take care our pets, even find names for your babies can be found as long as we want to open our mind. Most of information is presented in English. If you get use to read and listen English properly, it is going to be much easier for you to grasp any information. So, mastering English is broaden your world.

    Juella

  5. Hello Sir? How are you doing? I hope you are doing fine.

    (1) Sentence 1 is the topic sentence. Sentences 2, 5 and 8 are major supporting sentences.
    They directly explain the topic sentence.
    Sentences 3 and 4 support sentence 2.
    Sentence 6 supports sentence 5.
    Sentence 7 explains sentence 6.
    Sentence 9 & 10 support sentence 8
    Therefore, sentences 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 10 are minor supporting sentences.
    Sentence 11 is the concluding sentence. It restates the main idea.

    (2). There are many reasons why everybody should master English. Some of them study
    English to get opportunities in finding good jobs. Others study English to improve their
    speaking skill. so that they can make a lot of friends from all around the world. Still others
    study English to be English teachers at school. Nowadays, many school hire teachers
    should be able to speak in English even though they do not teach English. You should
    continue improving your English skills to face the challenging world of work.

    That’s all from me Sir.
    Thank You.

  6. Dear Sir,

    The following is my analyze,

    (1) Choosing a college or university can be difficult, is the topic sentence

    (2) The most difficult part is finding a university that prepares you well for your future career
    (3) In order to get a good job, the curriculum that is taught must be thorough and up-to-date; are major supporting sentences

    (4) In addition, the professors must be highly qualified and respected in their fields. (5) Another difficulty in choosing a university or college is affordability; are minor supporting sentences.

    (6) You need to be able to pay the tuition fees and living expenses. (7) Some institutions might be able to offer you scholarships if you cannot afford the fees; are explain sentences

    (8) A good location is also very important when choosing a school. (9) The environment should be safe and quiet to facilitate studying. (10) Moreover, there should be possibilities near the school for part-time or summer jobs in your major, so you can get some practical work experience; support sentence

    (11) You should consider all of these points carefully so you can choose the most appropriate colleg or university for you; is the concluding sentence

    Thank you Sir

    Best regards,

    Visi Gastini S.

  7. Hi Mr. Gea and other attendees of Writing I,
    The following is the paragraph I want you to analyze after studying the article entitled “Writing a Good Paragraph” (posted under PARAGRAPH WRITING) on the right side bar of this page.
    Do the followings:
    1) analyze the function of sentences 1 to 11 in the following paragraph. Write your answer in the way the sample paragraph above is explained.
    2) Write a paragraph about “why everyone should master English”.

    (1) Choosing a college or university can be difficult. (2) The most difficult part is finding a university that prepares you well for your future career. (3) In order to get a good job, the curriculum that is taught must be thorough and up-to-date. (4) In addition, the professors must be highly qualified and respected in their fields. (5) Another difficulty in choosing a university or college is affordability. (6) You need to be able to pay the tuition fees and living expenses. (7) Some institutions might be able to offer you scholarships if you cannot afford the fees. (8) A good location is also very important when choosing a school. (9) The environment should be safe and quiet to facilitate studying. (10) Moreover, there should be possibilities near the school for part-time or summer jobs in your major, so you can get some practical work experience. (11) You should consider all of these points carefully so you can choose the most appropriate college or university for you.

    (Retrieved from: http://homepage.usask.ca/~dul381/common/paragraph.html)

    So, Mr. Gea,
    Would you please clarify once again, which are the topic sentence, major supporting details, and minor supporting details? Is there a concluding sentence in the paragraph? You should also write a paragraph about “why everyone should master English”. Good luck!

  8. Hello Sir! How are you doing? I hope you are doing fine.

    I have read the passage about “Writing a Good Paragraph”. You state that If the supporting sentences directly explain the topic, they are called major supporting sentences, whereas If they explain the topic indirectly by supporting a major supporting sentence, they are called minor supporting sentence.
    In my opinion sentences 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9 don’t directly explain the topic sentence, therefore, sentences 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9 are minor supporting sentences.

    Correct me if I’m wrong about this.
    Thank you Sir.

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